BUFFALO, N.Y. — A new initiative in the city of Buffalo is helping young men of color find a safe space for self-development during their teen years.
Unleash Your Greatness is a year-long program that gets underway on Friday with leadership teaching them everything from how to build self-confidence to the proper way to tie a necktie.
The three-day program is based on military techniques of self-discipline with the goal of young Black men learning to lead by example.
Fifty boys from ages 15-18 travel to an overnight camp in Beaver Hollow to work on resilience training, self-discipline, goal setting and building mental health.
Organizers say the teen years are pivotal and they want to set the kids on the right path before one bad choice changes their lives.
"It is hard," said Duncan Kirkwood, a leadership trainer in the program. "I can speak from experience. So the barriers that you have to overcome are just wave after wave of challenge. So this conference is designed to build their grit and resilience so they can get through those waves, and to ultimately become those great versions of themselves."
Right now, registration is full for Friday's program, but leaders are already looking ahead to next year's opening registration in April. Information on that can be found here.
Organizers say with the success the program has shown, they plan on implementing the same model for girls in the spring.